Rapid responses of British butterflies to opposing forces of climate and habitat change

Published on Nov 1, 2001in Nature 41.58
· DOI :10.1038/35102054
Martin Warren21
Estimated H-index: 21
(Butterfly Conservation),
Jane K. Hill49
Estimated H-index: 49
(Durham University)
+ 12 AuthorsChris D. Thomas81
Estimated H-index: 81
(University of Leeds)
Habitat degradation and climate change are thought to be altering the distributions and abundances of animals and plants throughout the world, but their combined impacts have not been assessed for any species assemblage(1-4). Here we evaluated changes in the distribution sizes and abundances of 46 species of butterflies that approach their northern climatic range margins in Britain-where changes in climate and habitat are opposing forces. These insects might be expected to have responded positively to climate warming over the past 30 years, yet three-quarters of them declined: negative responses to habitat loss have outweighed positive responses to climate warming. Half of the species that were mobile and habitat generalists increased their distribution sites over this period (consistent with a climate explanation), whereas the other generalists and 89% of the habitat specialists declined in distribution size (consistent with habitat limitation). Changes in population abundances closely matched changes in distributions. The dual forces of habitat modification and climate change are likely to cause specialists to decline, leaving biological communities with reduced numbers of species and dominated by mobile and widespread habitat generalists.
  • References (27)
  • Citations (901)
Published on May 1, 2001in Nature 41.58
Chris D. Thomas81
Estimated H-index: 81
(University of Leeds),
E.J. Bodsworth1
Estimated H-index: 1
(University of Leeds)
+ 4 AuthorsLarissa Conradt23
Estimated H-index: 23
(University of Leeds)
Many animals are regarded as relatively sedentary and specialized in marginal parts of their geographical distributions 1,2 , They are expected to be slow at colonizing new habitats. Despite this, the cool margins of many species' distributions have expanded rapidly in association with recent climate warming 3-10 . We examined four insect species that have expanded their geographical ranges in Britain over the past 20 years. Here we report that two butterfly species have increased the variety of...
681 Citations Source Cite
Published on Jun 1, 2001in Biological Conservation 4.66
Dirk Maes26
Estimated H-index: 26
Hans Van Dyck32
Estimated H-index: 32
(University of Antwerp)
We illustrate the strong decrease in the number of butterfly species in Flanders (north Belgium) in the 20th century using data from a national butterfly mapping scheme. Nineteen of the 64 indigenous species went extinct and half of the remaining species are threatened at present. Flanders is shown to be the region with the highest number of extinct butterflies in Europe. More intensive agriculture practices and expansion of house and road building increased the extinction rate more than eightfo...
188 Citations Source Cite
Published on Jul 1, 1993in Ecography 4.52
J. A Thomas1
Estimated H-index: 1
Analyses of their habitats indicate that 18% of British butterfly species are restricted to the earliest seral stages of ecosystems, whereas the same species occupy later seral stages in central Europe, where spring and summer temperatures are warmer. The microclimates of their British habitats are exceptionally warm, compensating for the cooler climate. Most of these British habitats are also ephemeral, and have long depended on man for their creation and regeneration This poses the question of...
117 Citations Source Cite
Published on Feb 1, 1997in Biological Journal of The Linnean Society 2.53
Roger L. H. Dennis15
Estimated H-index: 15
(University of Manchester),
Tim G. Shreeve26
Estimated H-index: 26
(Oxford Brookes University)
To distinguish between the influences of area and isolation on the butterfly faunas of British islands two approaches are adopted. First, species richness is related to island area, isolation and the size of the faunal source. Neither area nor isolation account for much variance in species richness, though area is more important than isolation. In contrast, species richness corresponds closely to the size of the faunal source on nearby islands and to that at proximate locations on adjacent mainl...
50 Citations Source Cite
Published on Jan 1, 1993
M. G. Morris1
Estimated H-index: 1
E. Pollard1
Estimated H-index: 1
T. J. Yates1
Estimated H-index: 1
679 Citations
Published on Aug 1, 1992in Ecological Modelling 2.51
Robert A. Monserud34
Estimated H-index: 34
(United States Department of Agriculture),
R. Leemans36
Estimated H-index: 36
The Kappa statistic is presented as an objective tool for comparing global vegetation maps. Such maps can result from either compilations of observed spatial patterns or from simulations from models that are global in scope. The method is illustrated by comparing global maps resulting from applying a modified Holdridge Life Zone Classification to current climate and several climate change scenarios (CO2 doubling). These scenarios were based on the results of several different general circulation...
634 Citations Source Cite
Published on Jul 1, 2001in Ecology Letters 9.14
Jane K. Hill49
Estimated H-index: 49
(Durham University),
Yvonne C. Collingham23
Estimated H-index: 23
(Durham University)
+ 4 AuthorsBrian Huntley62
Estimated H-index: 62
(Durham University)
Since the 1940s, the distributions of several butterfly species have been expanding in northern Europe, probably in response to climate warming. We focus on the speckled wood butterfly Pararge aegeria in order to determine impacts of habitat availability on expansion rates. We analyse observed expansion rates since 1940 and also use a spatially explicit mechanistic model (MIGRATE) to simulate range expansion in two areas of the UK which differ in their distribution of breeding habitat (woodland)...
155 Citations Source Cite
Published on Mar 1, 1999in The Geographical Journal
Em Barrow11
Estimated H-index: 11
Mike Hulme65
Estimated H-index: 65
Our understanding of climate and its role in human affairs has changed markedly over recent years, as have climate observation systems and modelling capabilities. Reliance on recent weather statistics to provide a guide for future climate is no longer viable. Evidence of human-induced climate change has placed climate high on political and the media agendas. Climates of the British Isles provides a comprehensive account of what we know about climate and changing climates at the end of the twenti...
68 Citations Source Cite
Published on Feb 1, 2000in Trends in Ecology and Evolution 15.94
Lesley Hughes38
Estimated H-index: 38
(Macquarie University)
Abstract Increasing greenhouse gas concentrations are expected to have significant impacts on the world's climate on a timescale of decades to centuries. Evidence from long-term monitoring studies is now accumulating and suggests that the climate of the past few decades is anomalous compared with past climate variation, and that recent climatic and atmospheric trends are already affecting species physiology, distribution and phenology.
1,373 Citations Source Cite
Published on Jan 1, 1995in Bioinformatics 5.48
Andy Purvis58
Estimated H-index: 58
Andrew Rambaut85
Estimated H-index: 85
CAIC is an application for the Apple Macintosh which allows the valid analysis of comparative (multi-species) data sets that include continuous variables. Comparison among species is the most common technique for testing hypotheses of how organisms are adapted to their environments, but standard statistical tests like regression should not be used with species data. Such tests assume independence of data points, but related species often share traits by common descent rather than through indepen...
936 Citations Source Cite
  • References (27)
  • Citations (901)
Cited By901
Published on Apr 1, 2014in Current Zoology 2.39
Markus Franzén16
Estimated H-index: 16
(Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ),
Petra Dieker5
Estimated H-index: 5
(Lüneburg University)
Climate warming has been more pronounced in the Arctic than elsewhere, resulting in a recent rapid glacial retreat. Over 85% of the Almajallojekna glacier has disappeared over the last 115 years and it is one of the fastest retreating glaciers in Sweden. In 2011 and 2012, at 18 sites in the vicinity of the remaining glacier network, we sampled arthropods and related the species richness, abundance and proportion of herbivores to altitude (ranging from 824 to 1, 524 m.a.s.l.) and the age of the s...
1 Citations Source Cite
Published on Jan 1, 2005in Annales Zoologici Fennici 0.73
Marianne S. Fred6
Estimated H-index: 6
(University of Helsinki),
Jon E. Brommer33
Estimated H-index: 33
(University of Helsinki)
We tested two hypotheses that assume aspects of host-plant quality restrict the current distribution of Parnassius apollo. The “foreign host-plant hypothesis” states that host plants from outside the current range of P. apollo are, for some reason, unsuitable for the developing larvae. The “heavy-metal hypothesis” specifically attributes this unsuitability to a higher concentration of heavy metals (especially Cd) outside the current species’ range than inside. We fed 60 larvae from two populatio...
9 Citations
Published on Jan 1, 2004in Advances in Ecological Research 4.91
Katrin Böhning-Gaese45
Estimated H-index: 45
(University of Mainz),
Nicole Lemoine6
Estimated H-index: 6
(University of Mainz)
Publisher Summary This chapter focuses on the effects of global climate change on the size and position of geographic ranges and the richness and composition of bird communities. Plenty of evidence demonstrates that range boundaries of birds are correlated with climatic factors. In general, the northern range limit of species seems to be influenced rather by abiotic factors such as cold temperatures. The southern range limit of species appears to be determined by climatic factors such as heat or...
63 Citations Source Cite
Published on Jul 1, 2015in Biological Conservation 4.66
Chrystal Mantyka-Pringle7
Estimated H-index: 7
Piero Visconti26
Estimated H-index: 26
(Sapienza University of Rome)
+ 3 AuthorsJonathan R. Rhodes30
Estimated H-index: 30
(University of Queensland)
Climate change and land-cover change will have major impacts on biodiversity persistence worldwide. These two stressors are likely to interact, but how climate change will mediate the effects of land-cover change remains poorly understood. Here we use an empirically-derived model of the interaction between habitat loss and climate to predict the implications of this for biodiversity loss and conservation priorities at a global scale. Risk analysis was used to estimate the risk of biodiversity lo...
47 Citations Source Cite
Published on Jan 2, 2016in Landscape Research 1.20
Anna Gilchrist2
Estimated H-index: 2
Adam Barker5
Estimated H-index: 5
John Handley15
Estimated H-index: 15
AbstractUnder climate change many species may need to shift polewards to track suitable bioclimatic conditions. This movement is likely to be impeded by intensively modified landscapes, but little is known in practice about how species undergo range expansion in these conditions. Using biological record data, this paper explores the occurrence of five butterfly species undertaking range expansion in the UK through an urbanised landscape to better understand the ‘pathways’ or landscape features u...
6 Citations Source Cite
Published on Sep 1, 2015in Ecological Modelling 2.51
Amiya Ranjan Bhowmick6
Estimated H-index: 6
(Indian Statistical Institute),
Bapi Saha2
Estimated H-index: 2
(Government College)
+ 2 AuthorsSabyasachi Bhattacharya10
Estimated H-index: 10
(Indian Statistical Institute)
Throughout the history of evolutionary process cooperation has played a significant role in species sociological development and social groups are more likely to be survived than individuals in apparently unfavorable conditions. We bring in the concept of cooperation and introduce a new parameter γ in the generalized theta-logistic equation to model non-monotonic behavior of per capita growth rate. This phenomenological modeling approach highlights the interplay of two opposing forces, namely, t...
2 Citations Source Cite
Published on Jan 1, 2009
Susan A. Mainka1
Estimated H-index: 1
McNeely Jeffrey A1
Estimated H-index: 1
Conservation for a New Era outlines the critical issues facing us in the 21st century, developed from the results of the World Conservation Congress in Barcelona in October 2008. The landmark publication takes on the pressing issues of today and highlights the solutions to be found through investing in nature. The book is essential reading for governments, businesses and decision makers. It provides a snapshot of the current situation, split into 21 easy-to-read sections, as well as a roadmap fo...
8 Citations Source Cite
Published on Nov 1, 2015in Ecological Informatics 1.82
Orly Razgour9
Estimated H-index: 9
(University of Stirling)
Understanding how biodiversity will respond to future climate change is a major conservation and societal challenge. Climate change is predicted to force many species to shift their ranges in pursuit of suitable conditions. This study aims to use landscape genetics, the study of the effects of environmental heterogeneity on the spatial distribution of genetic variation, as a predictive tool to assess how species will shift their ranges to track climatic changes and inform conservation measures t...
12 Citations Source Cite
Published on Jun 25, 2015in PLOS ONE 2.77
Björn C. Beckmann6
Estimated H-index: 6
Bethan V. Purse25
Estimated H-index: 25
+ 3 AuthorsChris D. Thomas81
Estimated H-index: 81
There are large variations in the responses of species to the environmental changes of recent decades, heightening interest in whether their traits may explain inter-specific differences in range expansions and contractions. Using a long-term distributional dataset, we calculated range changes of grasshoppers and crickets in Britain between the 1980s and the 2000s and assessed whether their traits (resource use, life history, dispersal ability, geographic location) explain relative performance o...
6 Citations Source Cite